Phenomenon of Amazing Detail

60 Parallels between Joseph and Jesus

Many Christian writers drew parallels between Joseph in Genesis and our Lord Jesus Christ. For example, both are Saviours. Joseph saved the whole Jewish tribe from famine while our Lord saves those that repent of their sin. Both went through sufferings and betrayal. Both were tempted and forgave. The following is an extract of 60 parallels from various sources, in particular, those from Arthur W. Pink and Dr. Seto’s exposition on Joseph:

Joseph in Genesis
Chapter 37
01 Joseph was a shepherd (37:2) Jesus is the good Shepherd (John 10:11)
02 Joseph was the beloved of his father (37:3) Jesus is the beloved of the Father (Matthew 3:17)
03 Lived with his father in honor before going down to Egypt (37:2–4) Lived with God before coming to earth (John 1:2)
04 Joseph was hated by his brothers (37:4, 5, 8) because of: i) Jacob’s special love for him; ii) his words Jesus was hated by His brothers (John 15:25; Luke 19:14) because: i) Jesus claimed God His Father (John 5:18); ii) His Words (John 7:7; 8:40)
05 Joseph foretold of his future sovereignty (37:7-12) Jesus did the same. (Matthew 26:64; John 18:37)
06 Joseph was sent by his father to his brothers for their welfare (37:13-14) Jesus was sent to the ‘lost sheep of Israel,’ by His Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38-40; 12:48-50; 17:21) and to save the world (John 3:16-17)

Joseph's brothers plotting against him
07 Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill Joseph (37:18-20) The Jews also plotted to kill Christ. (Matthew 12:14; 26:4)
08 Joseph’s brothers did not believe his dreams (37:19, 29) Jesus’ brethren did not believe His words (Matthew 27:39-43; John 3:18, 36)
09 Joseph’s brothers teased Joseph “dreamer (Baal Chalom) (master of dreams)” (37:19) Jews teased Jesus driving out demons by Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22)
10 Reuben has a plan to save Joseph (37:22) Pilate has a plan to offer Barabbas (Matthew 27:17)
11 Joseph was stripped of his coat (37:23) Jesus was stripped of His coat, covered with a scarlet robe (Matthew. 27: 28)
12 His brothers, while eating, intended to slay him (37:25–27) The Jews, while eating the Passover feast, desired that Jesus be killed (Matthew 26:2-4)
13 Joseph was sold into Egypt at the proposal of Judah (37:26–27) Jesus was betrayed and handed over to the Jews by Judas (Matthew 27:3)
14 Joseph was taken out of the pit, alive in his body (37:28) Jesus resurrected from the tomb (1 Corinthians 15:4b)
15 Joseph was sold for the price of redemption (37:28) Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver (the price of a slave) (Matthew 26:15)
16 Joseph’s blood sprinkled coat (goat blood) was presented to his father (37:31) Jesus is our scapegoat and His blood was presented to the Father as a sin offering (Hebrews 13:12; Leviticus 16:8-10)
Chapter 39
17 Joseph became a servant (39:1) Jesus became a servant (Philippians 2:6, 7; Luke 22:27; John 13:1-17)
18 Joseph was a prosperous servant (39:2, 3) Jesus was also a prosperous Servant (Isaiah 52:13; 53:10)
19 Joseph’s master was well pleased with him (39:4) Heavenly Father was well pleased with what Jesus did (John 8:29)

The Temptation of Joseph
20 Joseph was sorely tempted by Potiphar’s wife and did not sin (39:7-12) Jesus was tempted and did not sin (Matthew 4:1-11; Heb. 2:18; 4:15)
21 Joseph was falsely accused (39:16-18) Jesus was falsely accused (Matthew 26:59-61)
22 Joseph attempted no defense (39:19) Jesus gave no defense at His trials (Isaiah 53:7)
23 Joseph was cast into prison, though he was innocent (39:20) Jesus is sentenced to death though Pilate found no fault in Him (John 19:4, 6)
24 Joseph was jailed with prisoners (39:20) Jesus was crucified with criminals (Luke 23:33)
25 Joseph won the respect of the chief jailor (39:21) Jesus won the respect of a Roman centurion standing at the cross (Luke 23:47)
Chapter 40
26 Joseph was numbered with transgressors. The cupbearer and the baker of the King were with him in prison (40:1-3) It was prophesied about Jesus (Isaiah 53:12). Jesus was also crucified and with Him, two thieves (Mark 15:28)
27 Joseph was the means of blessing to one (the cupbearer) (40:13), but the pronouncer of judgment on the other (the baker) (40: 19) Jesus was a blessing to one of the thieves He was crucified between (Luke 23:43).
28 Joseph evidenced his knowledge of the future and gave credit to God alone (40:8) Jesus did the same on earth (John 12:49)
29 Joseph desired to be remembered by the cupbearer (40:14) Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
Chapter 41
30 Joseph was delivered from prison by the hand of God (41:14; 45:7-9) God raised Jesus from the tomb (Acts 2:32; 10:40)

Joseph interpreting Pharoah's dreams
31 Joseph was seen as the Revealer of secrets from God (41:16, 25) Jesus is the Revealer of Truth from God (John 17:8; 8:28; 12:49; Revelation 1:1)
32 Joseph warned of a coming danger and urged Pharaoh to make preparations (41:33-36) Jesus warned that death did not end all and urged us to be on the watch and pray (John 14:3; Luke 21:36)
33 Joseph was portrayed as a wonderful Counselor in giving wisdom to Pharaoh (41:33-36) Christ is known as the One “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3)
34 Joseph’s counsel commended itself to Pharaoh and his officers (41:37-39) Jesus’ teaching was commended while He walked on earth (Matthew 7:28-29; 13:54; John 7:46)
35 Joseph is exalted, and set over all Egypt (41:39-40) Jesus is highly exalted by God and will be bowed by all people (1 Peter 3:22; Philippians 2:9-11)
36 Joseph was invested with insignia (Pharaoh’s signet ring and gold chain around his neck) (41:42) As was our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 5:31; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 1:13)
37 Joseph’s authority and glory - All will pay homage and every knee will bow (41:43) Peter publicly declared the Lordship of Jesus Christ on Pentecost (Acts 2:36); Every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10)
38 Joseph received from Pharaoh a new name – the “Saviour of the World” (41:45) God gave Jesus Christ a new name (Philippians 2:9, 10; Matthew 1:21; Acts 5:31)
39 Joseph was thirty years old when he began his ministry (41:46) Jesus was thirty when He began His public ministry (Luke 3:23)
40 Joseph’s exaltation was followed by a season of plenty (41:47-49) There is a season of harvest after Jesus’ exaltation as LORD- the time of the Gentiles. (Romans 11:25; John 12:24)

The famine of Egypt - the Time of Gentiles will come to an end
41 Joseph’s exaltation was also followed by a period of famine (41:53-54) ‘The time of Gentiles’ will come to an end and ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jeremiah 30:7) will begin. (See also Daniel 12:7; Mark 13:19-20; Amos 8:11-12)
42 Joseph, alone, was seen dispersing bread to the perishing world (41:55-56) Jesus is the One who alone disperses the Bread of Life (Acts 4:12; John 6:48–57)
43 Joseph became a Saviour to all people (41:54; 57) Jesus is the Saviour to all people (John 3:16; Revelation 5:9)
44 Joseph has unlimited resources to meet the needs of all people (41:49) There is infinite power and riches In Jesus (John 6:35; Eph. 1:7; 2:7; 2:4; 1 Peter 1:3; Eph. 3:8; Col. 2:9; Romans 10:12)
Chapter 42-43
45 Joseph was unknown and unrecognized by his brethren (42:6, 8) Jesus’ deity is not recognized or acknowledged by most Jews (John 1:10-11; 14:9; Luke 24:16)
46 Joseph, however, saw and knew his brethren (42:7) Jesus’ eyes are on the Jews even today (Jeremiah 16:17; Hosea 5:3)
47 Joseph punished his brethren (42:7, 17) God (Jesus) is dealing harshly with the Jews (Hosea 9:17; Matthew 23:35-36, 38-39)
48 Joseph’s ten brothers condemned to prison and released after 3 days (42:17-18) Jesus condemned and rose from dead after three days (Acts 10:40–41)
49 Joseph’s ten brothers felt remorse (42:21-22) Judas/some Jews felt remorse (Matthew 27:3, 25)
50 Joseph exercised righteous judgment by sparing innocent Reuben (the oldest) but took Simeon (the next oldest) into custody until the brothers returned (42:24) Jesus will excise righteous judgment also. He is our perfect judge who can separate the sheep from the goats (John 5:22-23, 27; Matthew 25:31–32)
51 Joseph made provision for his brethren while they were in a strange land (42:25) God (Jesus) promised to provide for the Jews while they are scattered (Jeremiah 30:11; Ezekiel 11:16)
52 Joseph fed his hungry brothers (43:31–34) Jesus fed the hungry masses (John 6:5–13)
Chapter 45-50
53 Joseph was revealed to his brothers at their second coming (45:1-5) Jesus is to be revealed to Israel at His second coming (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 1:7)
54 Joseph was revealed as a man of Compassion (45:1-2): 7 times we read of Joseph weeping (42:24, 43:30; 45:1-2; 45:15; 46:29; 50:1; 50:15-17) Jesus wept (John 11:35)
55 Joseph forgave and became a Saviour to his brothers (45:4-5) Jesus forgave and saved all sinners (Luke 23:34; Matthew 1:21; Acts 5:31)
56 Joseph suffered according to predetermined plan of God (45:5-7; 50:20) Jesus suffered according to the plan of God (Acts 2:23; 3:12-18; Ephesians 3:11)
57 First news that Joseph were alive was not believed (45:26) The male disciples would not believe Mary when she reported Jesus alive (Luke 24:10–11)

Joseph saved his brothers and tribe
58 Joseph saved his brothers and the tribe (47:25) Jesus saved Israel (Acts 13:23)
59 Joseph’s sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) came through his gentile wife and were given full tribe status (48:5,9) Through Jesus, gentiles who believe are considered full members of God’s people (Isaiah 8:18; Acts 28:28)
60 Joseph comforted those who betrayed him (50:21) Jesus comforted those disciples who abandoned him at the cross (John 20:19)

Joseph’s life story brings to us many valuable lessons and applications; yet there is such a profound prophetic aspect to the account that foreshadows the Messiah himself. Joseph was a type of Christ. The parallels are so striking and so dramatic that this is a powerful witness of Christ in the Old Testament. While there are here 60 parallels to bedazzle the readers, there must be more if we would dig deeper into the text. Is it not “amazing details” that Jesus Christ our Lord, the Champion in the last book of the Bible, is so incredibly foretold in Genesis, the very first book of the Story of our Redemption.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children" (Genesis 50:20-21).

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